Whilst flight prices may have fallen dramatically in the last decade, many travelers still prefer the experience of overlanding. Overlanding, if you weren’t already aware, is basically about traveling from place to place, country to country, by road and nothing else. In some areas of the world, this is very easy given the strong infrastructure links and big open roads that you can find, in other regions, it is not so easy. Having said this, I had a chat recently with Boris Blanche who is the Managing Director of the International Road Transport Union, where we talked about just how much road systems have improved, in some of the world’s most remote regions.
Overlanding is the rawest form of travel out there and if you want to do it, and enjoy it, here is the best way to go about it.
The key to many overlanding adventures is in the prep work. Naturally when you are only traveling by road, your journey times will be greatly increased which means that you need to be well prepared to keep yourself entertained. Download movies, podcasts, playlists, games and whatever else you plan on using to keep yourself occupied, ahead of time, any bus which says will have internet, can never guarantee that it will be very strong, or working at all! Equally you should plan ahead in terms of keeping your stuff charged up, try to take a battery cell with you in case the bus or car doesn’t have the option to recharge.
Learn to Relax
There are some very hefty journeys which you may be going on when you decide to overland and so you really need to learn how to relax. There is no guarantee that you will have fellow guests that you get on with on the bus either, nor that they will be nice people. I recently overlanded through Central America and for 12 hours on an 18 hour journey, there was a man behind me who was repeatedly kicking my chair. The key to relaxing on a long journey is just to switch off entirely, use the time to think and plan, and try not to get stressed out.
The best way to survive a long journey, is to close your eyes, nod off, and wake up much closer to you destination. In order to ensure you get some sleep, I would recommend taking Melatonin, a natural vitamin which can help you to fall asleep, even if you are in the most uncomfortable of positions. I would also recommend that you plan your sleep in the days before your journey, so that you can ensure that you will be tired when you get into the vehicle. Finally I would always suggest that you take a shawl and something which you can use as a pillow. Even in the warmest places on Earth, those busses can get mighty cold!
Finally, take some ear plugs, the last thing you need is a TV on, a screaming baby, or any other kind of noise which could bother you.